‘I misspoke’: Rick Santorum walks back controversial remarks about Native Americans

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Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News
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CNN conservative commentator Rick Santorum says he “misspoke” when he diminished Native Americans’ contributions to modern American culture.

Stopping short of a full apology, the former GOP presidential candidate and Pennsylvania senator insisted he meant no offense when he told a conservative youth group last week that “we birthed a nation out of nothing.”

“I was not trying to dismiss Native Americans,” Santorum told CNN anchor Chris Cuomo Monday night. “They have a huge impact, particularly in the West and many other areas of the country, where they have a huge impact on American culture.”

Santorum claimed he was only referring to the lack of input by Native Americans to the colonial founding fathers who created the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

“I was talking about the founding and the principles embodied in the founding,” Santorum said. “The way we treated Native Americans was horrific,” he added.

The statement didn’t go over well with everyone at CNN. Anchor Don Lemon blasted Santorum for failing to admit he was wrong and apologize.

“I cannot believe the first words out of his mouth weren’t: ‘I’m sorry. I said something ignorant. I need to learn about the history of this country,’” Lemon said moments after Santorum spoke.

“Did he actually think it was a good idea for him to come on television and try to whitewash the whitewash that he whitewashed?”